Govt. of Odisha maintains utmost secrecy on Ghangapatna Land Scam, Information Commission directs Tahasildar, Bhubaneswar to produce the information within 7 days
In a significant development, on 14.7.17., Mrs. Sashi Prava Bindhani, State Information Commissioner directed to Tahasildar, Bhubaneswar to produce all the information about Ghangapatna land to the Appellant within 7 days. This direction came out following hearing of Second Appeal petition No. 284/15 by the Commission. Mrs. Bindhani has also given direction to the PIOs, Dept. of Revenue and Disaster Management and Office of Collector, Khurda to produce detailed report about details of follow up action taken by them to ensure information. The date for next hearing was fixed on 16.8.17.
A brief History of the Case
In August, 2014, it was exposed by the local people and media that huge acres of tribal was illegally acquired by late Kalpataru Das and his MLA Son Pranab Balabantaray and Sri K.V.Singhdeo, BJP MLA in name of her daughter and many powerful people connected with BJD party in Ghangapatana area of Bhubaneswar under jurisdiction of Tahasildar, Bhubaneswar. After this expose , all the opposition political parties and Civil Society Groups coming to the streets organised protest dharana demanding CBI inquiry into scam. It is popularly known as Ghangapatna land Scam in Odisha. In the midst of protest, Chief Minister ordered for Crime Branch enquiry and after few days the Govt. declared that 70 acres of land of Ghangapatna returned back to Govt. fold.
To verify the authenticity of information, RTI Application dt. 17.9.14 was submitted to the PIO, Office of Revenue and Disaster Management, Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar seeking information about details of Ghangapatana land returned back by Govt. Though 30 days passed, the PIO did not supply the information. Then, on 188.8.131.52, I made first appeal to the First Appellate Authority to hear the case and provide the information. Though 30 days passed, the FAA neither heard the case nor provided the information. Then, Second Appeal was filed to Odisha Information Commission seeking information and penalty against PIO under section 20 (1) of the RTI Act.